tea time – matcha-coconut cake (gluten-free)

tea time – matcha-coconut cake (gluten-free)

M and I are planning our Asia trip–Hong Kong as usual and  this time with a side trip to Japan with friends. We did our initial research for things to do in Japan–and just as important, what to eat. More importantly, food to savor.

In the kitchen now, I can’t help but be drawn to flavors of Japan, especially one of my favorite dessert ingredients, matcha (green tea powder). The woodsy flavor and mossy green hue fuel all sorts of sweet experiments.

Japanese desserts are always pristine and precise–they are never short of being works of art. Although I could spend time to create the perfect looking dessert, I focused instead on the fusion of flavors. It’s more J-Pop than kabuki. When the sweetness of fluffy coconut pairs with down-to-earth matcha, the magic begins. 

Matcha-Coconut Cake (gluten-free)


GF Coconut Cake
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, (liquid)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Matcha Ganache
  • 8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Coconut Frosting
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon light rum
  • GF Coconut cake layers
  • Matcha Ganache
  • Coconut Frosting
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, toasted (garnish)


GF Coconut Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350℉. Grease four 4-inch cake pans with butter or cooking spray and cover pan bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Grease parchment rounds. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine coconut flour, baking soda, salt and xantham gum, set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with a hand mixer until lighter in color and slightly fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add coconut oil, agave nectar, extract, continue to beat until combined. Fold in flour mixture and shredded coconut until fully combined.

4. Divide batter equally between prepared cake pans; spread to sides of pan and smooth with small off-set spatula. Bake until cake tops are light golden and skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool on rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen, remove cakes onto a lightly greased rack. Cool completely.

Matcha Ganache

1. Place chocolate and matcha powder in a medium bowl. Bring heavy cream just to a boil, and pour over chocolate mixture. Stir until fully combined and smooth.

2. Let cool to room temperature and thickened, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, refrigerate ganache for faster cooling.

Coconut Frosting

1. Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add sugar, reduced coconut milk, extracts, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Add rum and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Refrigerate until needed.


1. Using two cakes, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on the bottom of cake stand or serving platter, spread approximately 2 tablespoons of ganache over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with filling and cake layers until top with the 4th cake layer.

2. Spread or pipe frosting on top and side of cake. Garnish with pistachios. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes before serving.

3. Repeat with remaining two cakes.